No one likes clutter. No one likes disorganization. While those things can be merely annoying in daily life, they can be disastrous to the health of a company if it defines your marketing practices.
Marketing automation, if done right, unifies isolated systems into a harmonious whole. No clutter. No disorganization.
If it is done wrong — i.e. if you don’t create a carefully defined plan for how you want to use automation or if you don’t really have a recognizable process to automate — automation can be an exercise of futility.
And this is a where a high quality CRM software comes into play.
CRM Complements Marketing Automation for Your Sales Team
It really is a powerful combination when used well. Marketing automation does some of the busy work of analyzing leads to save you time, and then CRM jumps in and gives you a wonderfully convenient way to take action with those leads.
As Sesame Mish of Marketo explains:
…marketing automation [can] automatically highlight the best leads and opportunities for sales to focus on, saving them from an endless game of “cat & mouse,” and allowing them to close more deals in less time…[it] also allows sales teams to track behavior, thus indicating the level of their leads’ buying interest, as well as allows them to turn insight into action by sending emails or entire campaigns through the CRM.
The Marriage of Marketing Tech and Ad Tech
This partnership between automation and CRM goes beyond just pursuing leads. It also flourishes in advertising. When ad campaigns can tap into CRM data, it gives them incredible agility. It’s like a plane receiving real-time satellite imagery of its environment as it flies through a storm. Real-time course correction becomes a possibility for ads.
Jon Cifuentes of Venture Beat explains it well in this June 2015 article:
…They’re calling it “Active Audiences,” which essentially ties advertising campaigns to live CRM data. In practice, this means the emails and mobile messages (yes, their technology supports push notifications too) customers engage with, as well as their purchase history and customer service records, are taken into account when determining which ads they’ll be shown.
But Don’t Lose the Human Touch
With that being said, the race to activate all of the features of automation and CRM can become so involved that you begin to lose touch with an important truth: the power of human to human engagement can never be replaced.
Sometimes there are moments when it’s best to stop all the machinery, even if that means dealing with the grinding sound of the “factory” coming to a sudden halt, and just pick up the phone and talk to a lead or do some time-consuming manual task, like having an extended, personable conversation with a client on social media.
The premise behind CRM and automation is to clear obstacles between you and your potential customers.
In a recent June 2015 article on Venture Beat, the company Yummly was hailed for its excellent approach to combining a personal touch with automation:
…if [a user] doesn’t return for a period of time, or has come once without coming back, they’ll get a personalized email from a Yummly employee — that they can respond to…“That’s one of our best performing emails because it’s from an individual and people find it pretty amazing they can respond to that person and get a reply to their questions. It feels like personal touch even though it’s sent out in automated fashion.”
Steve Jobs was known for a surprisingly personal touch with Apple customers. He would personally reply to the questions of many (not all) customers. Although his tone was famously terse, just the fact that the Apple mastermind (one of them) was taking time to read a customer’s email and personally respond blew people away. It was so impressive that news agencies like The Huffington Post published collections of Steve’s email replies to customers.
It’s one of the (many) reasons that people grew to love Apple.